Hello! My name is Corey Fritz and I am the founder and President of One Human Family Coalition. My organization is based off of a very simple concept that I strongly believe in and live my life by: "All we are is simply how we treat each other"
Typically, the first question I get asked when working with someone for the first time is: "Do you have a medical background?" The answer is no. I have spent most of my life making my living as a musician and an entrepeneur. I have played the trombone for 20 years and have performed all across the country with artists of all genres. I am originally from St. Louis, MO and am the middle child to two incredible parents and successful business owners. I left my hometown in 2013 for Nashville, TN in an effort to build a career as a trombone player.
In 2015 I left Nashville, TN and moved to the Florida Keys (Summerland Key) in order to build a new and exciting life for my wife and I performing music and growing a profitable entertainment company. Only one year later, in August of 2016, my wife and I split and I found myself down to my last $200 dollars. I made a difficult decision to leave the entertainment company I built and a beautiful community I fell in love with. I moved away from the Florida Keys in early 2017, roughly 8 months before the disaster caused by Hurricane Irma.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on September 10, 2017 and made a direct hit on my former community called the Lower Keys. I was terrified for my friends and what they were enduring and quickly decided to drive to the Keys to help in any way I could. Before I could hit the road I was recruited by a former Military professional of 30 years to take on a role of coordinating search and rescue (SAR) teams, supplies, and resources to provide disaster relief. In the first two days of working my team and I succesfully landed and distributed 30,000 lbs of supplies to 6 different islands of the Lower Keys. It was after these first two days that I knew I found a new calling for myself and I decided that I was going to go wherever this would lead me with no questions asked. I continued to work 24 hours a day for the next two weeks and just when I thought my work was coming to an end, Hurricane Maria came about.
Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. I first received a phone call to help a SAR team find a flight to the island. I successfully found one of the first passenger flights into Puerto Rico and during my search I discovered an abandoned hospital in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico. I decided to use my new found talents to recruit the resources necessary to refurbish this abandoned building to serve as a Free Health Care Clinic to provide disaster relief and this is when I formed OHFC. On October 13, 2017, 2 1/2 weeks after the first team arrived, this facility was opened for the first time in nearly a decade. One week later, on October 19, I received a letter from the Mayor of Quebradillas appointing myself as the Managing Director of the Municipal Hospital of Quebradillas. You could imagine my shock as I have primarily been a musician my whole life, but as I stated earlier, I was going to go wherever this road takes me with no questions asked.
I managed the operations and continued to recuruit from my home in the US and I finally made my first trip to Puerto Rico in December of 2017 so that I could see first hand what I was involved in. I knew from the first day of being on island that I was going to be returning for an indefinite stay.
I moved to Quebradillas, Puerto Rico with my cat, Gypsy The Hippy Cat, in February of 2018. My first order of business upon arriving was organizing our supplies into a Donation Distribution Center that, in the first 40 days, distributed more than 32,000 items to individuals in need. In the 7 months that our clinic was open our team served more than 2,000 patients and distributed more than 250,000 lbs of donated supplies. During my time on the island my eyes were opened to the hardships that many people were facing and not just because of Hurricane Maria. I worked hard everyday, met many incredible people, made invaluable connections, and formed wonderful friendships. I lived without power and without water until the end of May when I moved back to Nashville, TN. I was in Puerto Rico on my own dime, living off of my savings, so it was either become homeless in Puerto Rico or move back to the states and work once again from afar.
Since I have been back in the states I have worked to develop a sustainable voluntourism program that continues to send volunteers to the island to addresses the most immediate needs of the people. OHFC coordinated 102 in 2018 and my goal for 2019 is 120+
Thank you very much for reading my story. I have answered a calling for myself and I still do not know where it will take me but I do know that I have found a unique skill within myself that, if utilized, has the ability to help many people in need.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing will get better. It's not" - The Lorax